Further Up, Further In Weblog

Chronicling the Journey of the Homeyers

What is the BGCT? November 29, 2007

Filed under: Baptist Stuff — furtherupfurtherin @ 9:59 pm
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So, I understand that not everyone who reads this blog is Baptist.  I am incredibly grateful for that.  I also understand that many of the Baptists may not care about reading posts regarding Baptist life. 

It certainly is not my intention to make this blog about Baptist life (although it might improve my blog stats!  ha), but there seem to be lots of important conversations going on around the state of Texas concerning the future of our state convention, the Baptist General Convention of Texas.  Whether you are Baptist or not, I think you will gain something from what my uncle, Ken Hall, wrote on his blog concerning what the BGCT is. 

 It is a great post of what the purpose of our Conventions and larger Baptist entities are. 


Young Baptist Discussion November 28, 2007

Filed under: Baptist Stuff — furtherupfurtherin @ 11:09 pm
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A good and insightful discussion is going on at the BGCT’s blog

It concerns Ken Wiliam’s article that was written last week in the Baptist Standard

It concerns the views of young Baptists today.  As a young Baptist I think it is a healthy discussion and I am glad it is happening. 

If you are not a young Baptist, you should check it out and join the discussion.  I have joined the discussion and left my thoughts, you should as well on the BGCT Blog.


Thought Provoking November 27, 2007

Filed under: Etc.,Life of Matt — furtherupfurtherin @ 6:18 pm

I spent this morning visiting a church member in the hospital.  On the way back to Marble Falls I stopped at a Barnes and Noble in Bee Caves. 

One table of books were labelled “Thought Provoking”

On this table were around 25-30 different books. 

  • A few were of cultural interest. 
  • 12 were about new or possible developments in some area of science
  • Six were books on economics
  • Seven had God as their subject.  All of these seven discussed the myth of God, atheism, the falsehood of deity. 

I find this…thought provoking. 


Paul Potts November 25, 2007

Filed under: Devotional — furtherupfurtherin @ 10:14 pm
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This is a clip from the BBC’s “Britain’s Got Talent” program.  It is the initial audition of a cell-phone salesman named Paul Potts. 

It very much affected me as I listened to it in my office early this morning and I shared about it in Church this morning.  Please watch this clip. 

The subject of my sermon this past week surround how we are fed by God.  It was the second of two sermons on John 6.  Last week I preached on the Feeding of the 5000 where Jesus provided physical bread for the hungry people and intentionally drew comparisons between himself and Moses.  Throughout the rest of the chapter Jesus reveals himself not only as a divine supplier of physical sustenance but as the Bread of Life, as spiritual bread that once eaten, will allow us to never grow hungry.  It is a beautiful chapter.  It reveals who Jesus is and what He is here to do and how we can be a part of it. 

In church we talk a lot about, “being fed.”  At times, we overemphasize “being fed” to the detriment of putting our faith in action.  But still, the importance of being fed remains.  One cannot put action to faith without being fed.  To be healthy physically healthy requires a balance of action, or exercise and eating.  It is much the same spiritually. 

But how exactly are we fed?  How do we tap into this source so that we will never go hungry?  How can we not only be fed, but find the satisfaction of this bread that lasts forever? 

We are fed by encounters and experiences with Christ.  We are fed when we worship, when we practice spiritual disciplines, we are fed through fellowship with one another, we are fed when we serve and live on mission. 

We are fed in the expected and sometimes in the most unexpected of ways.  I found myself fed by watching Paul Potts early Sunday morning.  A most unexpected of meals. 

So this week, be aware of both the expected and unexpected encounters and experiences with Christ.  Be aware of those times when you find yourselves fed.  Revel in the miracle that you are promised to never go hungry.  Put your faith into action.  All that feeding is not meant to get you fat.  We are perpetually fed so that we may also perpetually serve. 

Enjoy Paul Potts.


The Gods Aren’t Angry November 21, 2007

Filed under: Devotional,Life of Matt — furtherupfurtherin @ 7:09 am
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I got a call last week from my good friend Ken, who is the youth minister at Sunset Canyon Baptist Church in Dripping Springs (I’m learning to refer to this town as “Drip” like a true Marble Fallsian).  He invited me to accompany he and his wife Meredith to hear Rob Bell speak on his, “The Gods Aren’t Angry” Tour. 

If you are not acquainted with Rob Bell I encourage you to do so.  He is a gifted writer but in my opinion a much better speaker.  He is the pastor of Mars Hill, is the featured speaker of the Nooma video series and has written the books Velvet Elvis and SexGod.  Check him out, especially Velvet Elvis and the Nooma’s. 

 Anyway, I have been trying to articulate the experience appropriately since Saturday night.  The tour is billed as, “Part anthropology, part history, part deconstruction – this is new material that Rob hasn’t taught before, exploring how humans invented religion to make themselves feel better.” 

I didn’t know what to expect going in.  What I got was a sermon that was over 1 1/2 hours long but throughout was engaging, interesting, and compelling.  Meredith, Ken, and I are typical jaded, cynical seminarians and even we, in spite of ourselves, found ourselves somehow lighter and freer as we left. 

As Meredith stated on her blog, to restate or summarize his sermon simply would cheat you out of the experience.  IF you have viewed a Nooma before, it was like an incredible, 1 1/2 hour, live Nooma complete with music.  Unfortunately the tour has left Texas, but I’m sure it will come to DVD and I will buy it and distribute it generously when it does.  I’ll let you know. 

But for a preacher, for a sinner, for a follower of Christ is was an incredible evening of worship.  The preaching event still can be relevant, challenging, engaging, and transforming.  The young, overwhelmed, in-over-his-head preacher can still be moved by the sermons of others.  Three friends can be drawn together in community through shared worship.  The Bible, even for jaded seminarians, still is fresh, and True, and speaks in new ways to each of us.  Transformation does occur.  A better life is available.  My relationship with Christ is dynamic. 

It is 1:00 AM and I can’t sleep.  And life is rich. 


New Website November 17, 2007

Filed under: Fellowshp Baptist Church — furtherupfurtherin @ 10:11 pm


Check out Fellowship’s new website.  I’d love to hear your critiques.  Myself and a few ladies from our church did all the content and our collective capabilities are limited at best.  I’d love to hear some suggestions if you have them.

 Fellowship Baptist Church (http://www.marblefallsfellowship.org)



Divorce November 16, 2007

Filed under: Discipleship — furtherupfurtherin @ 4:28 pm
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Take the time to read this article that was in Christianity Today last month on Divorce.  It is more than worth your time. 

 The author makes a compelling argument for the biblical grounds for divorce being these:

  • Adultery (in Deuteronomy 24:1, affirmed by Jesus in Matthew 19)
  • Emotional and physical neglect (in Exodus 21:10-11, affirmed by Paul in 1 Corinthians 7)
  • Abandonment and abuse (included in neglect, as affirmed in 1 Corinthians 7)
  • It is a fascinating interpretation and exegesis of scripture which brought much clarity to my mind on what both testaments have to say on the subject of divorce. 

    Most of the interpretations of the Bible’s teaching on divorce that I have heard in the church are more a product of hearsay and isogesis (the practice of taking one verse or group of verses out of their overall context and inferring meaning into the text that isn’t there) and narrow thinking that doesn’t sqaure at all with modern-day experience. 

    Jesus Christ is the means through which we are to interpret scripture, not our own culture or our own presuppositions and this reading of scripture squares with the Jesus I know.  Granted, I am aware of the danger of referring to the, “Jesus I know,” or “my Jesus” because other readings can square with someone else’s Jesus which may or may not be Jesus at all. 

    Ok, this post has rambled a bit.  I’d be interested to hear some reaction either way to this article.  For me the implications of this article have muchto do with leadership in the church.  Hopefully most churches have gotten past spurning those who have been divorced.  But in light of this interpretation of scripture, does the door open wider for the ordaining of divorce’s as deacons and for ministry?